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As a homeschooler you know this scenario.
You sit down at the kitchen table to work on some exciting new curriculum you have chosen. Maybe you chose this curriculum because it had a pretty cover, all your friends are doing it, or it promised to have your kids graduated early. Whatever the case may be you have high hopes for your child and this curriculum.
The first day of introduction goes pretty good and everyone seems to be on board with the new choice.
Somehow over the next few weeks or months, you notice yourself barking at your child a lot more whenever this curriculum comes out.
Your child sinks low in their chair, and their eyes gloss over with every new concept. The workbook pages that once
If you have homeschooled for any length of time you know this struggle. You have been there, maybe more then you would care to admit.
So how do you know when you are asking to much?
I think to begin with its important to understand that every child is unique. Isn’t that one of the reasons you homeschool? The ability to give your child the best education for their learning style? (Or maybe you don’t know what their learning style is, and that is for another post) So when the tears come more
As a homeschooler of two and 13 years experience, I have a few tips
1. Is your child throwing a tantrum every time this curriculum is brought out?
To be fair, tantrums are expected and a part of the uncomfortableness of learning something new that might be hard. The difference to regular growing pains and pushing beyond their ability is that they never get beyond the pain of growing.
Regular learning comes with struggle but then there is a rest in understanding until the next wave comes. When you ask your child to understand a concept they are not ready for there is no rest. Your child and perhaps you too feel the weight of trying to stay above the waves.
2. This shiny new curriculum has a
reading, and writing element, but it’s not a language program.
Let’s say you chose a science program and along with the wonderful experiments, it came with a notebook. It is a beautiful notebook and the Pinterest after pictures have you inspired. However, you know that your child is having difficulty with his/her penmanship and their reading is less than awesome but you push on.
For the first years, you should keep writing and reading in their respectful lanes until your child feels confident.
Enjoy the science, or history textbook by reading it aloud. Have fun with the experiments and have them audibly answer questions. This is not the time for writing practice.
3. Your child does not learn this way.
This goes back to first knowing how your child learns.
- A tactile student needs manipulatives.
- An auditory student wants you to read it aloud and parrot back what you’ve said.
- The visual student wants pictures and graphs to help them understand.
- While a kinesthetic student needs a trampoline or specific hand motions to retain information.
The curriculum you’ve chosen may be amazing but if it’s not delivered in a way your student can process then there will be tears.
Learning is hard and it can be a physical struggle for all parties involved. As the adult and educator of our children, we need to be aware of their heart. Some children lack the vocabulary to say what you’ve chosen is beyond them so they will act out. It is imperative to know whether the signals they are giving are an act of disobedience or something more.
This is not an exhaustive list but a few ideas to get you thinking. My prayer for you is that you’ll spend some time asking these questions while your child is in timeout. Have you chosen a curriculum that is asking too much of your child?